Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Tag the Sex Toy

I know I’ve touched base on referring to toys in a review. And I mentioned that feather lined hand cuffs could be considered toys. Didn't see it?Click:   Furry Cuffs

I’ve also mentioned that I like a good conversation, even a difference of opinion. No one really responded to the particulars of that post. Someone got a smile out of it, but no one dove in to debate any of my opinions. Quite by happenstance, a question and discussion floated my way that made me rethink my stance. Or more pointedly, refine it.

What is considered a toy? What makes the difference? Could something, instead, be considered a tool? If a tool, when?

I don’t endorse any toys – to do that I would have to have some experience with them and this blog is no place for such discussions, pro or con. However, in researching what could be considered toys, I saw mention of dildos like the Whopper Dong or the Wet Wabbit for vibrators. There are massaging devices, anal vibrators, Ben Wa balls, strap on dildos, prostrate massagers and pleasure wands, all made of some form of plastic or glass. There are nipple and breast toys that have nothing to do with the BDSM culture – they’re for enhancing the pleasure. There are vibrating nipple stimulators, little suction cups, and even a nipple erector set – whatever that does. They even have pussy pumps. Imagine! What these all seem to have in common is the focus of increasing the pleasure of the coupling. They are toys. Freely used on either protagonist in the story without any other purpose than increasing the power of the big O.

Then there are the tools of the trade. The ‘trade’ being a fetish, commonly found within the BDSM lifestyle. Nipple clamps fall in line there but they oftentimes have chains and they have a purpose that is more than just simple pleasure. A point is made – excuse the pun. These tools are inherent to the lifestyle – in effect – making them fall under the umbrella of BDSM. What do I mean?

You can have and use toys without BDSM but you can’t have BDSM without its toys/tools.

So the candy ball gag, the electro shock kit, the ropes, the blind folds, the sex slings and the bed restraints as well as whips and fur lined paddles, or the bondage bar, are tools, not toys.

I can only speak to the reviewers of Whipped Cream/LASR – I now believe that when we code our reviews with the unique qualities of a story, any device used in a BDSM scene does not have to have the additional label of ‘toys’. It’s implied and expected. If anything, the word FETISH can be added to cover the use of the distinctive tools used in the lifestyle.

And in case you were wondering why I say to use the word Fetish for the tools, just look online. I found something called the Fetish Factory and it has LOADS of stuff that truly can only be categorized as tools for the lifestyle. I mean, cock rings? Chastity devices for men or women, a Hannibal Head cage, for goodness sakes! Or, ::gasp:: an enema plug? I’d never classify that as a toy – ever.
In doing this post, I’ve refined my ability to tag my review a bit clearer and with more accuracy. Although, in truth, if I read a book where the Dom actually used a Hannibal Head cage, I’d find a way to mention it in the body of the review. Readers should get a warning for something that could be considered hardcore especially for those who only read light or mild BDSM.  I know I wouldn't want to be surprised by some of the things I saw today during my research. 

Ok, now will someone talk to me about this post? I was red as a tomato researching for it, never mind actually writing all this stuff down.


Wendi Zwaduk said...

Well put! Here here! :-)

Terra Pennington said...

I think you brought up a lot of good points that never cross my mind as a reviewer and never thought there was a difference between toys and tools. This is something that I am going to have to take note of in writing my reviews.

Stormy said...

Xer, thanks for taking one for the team and researching this :D I know for a fact I've used toys with the BDSM label. Would you still include toys in the "other" section if the couple or triad or quadrapeds (just teasing) or whatever engage in using the same instruments where there isn't any BDSM element in the same book? That might be an unusual situation because it would call for the D to not be a D and the s to be less of an s I guess.

Xeranthemum said...

Thank you, Wendi!!!

Xeranthemum said...

Thank you, Terra.
I'm glad I am not the only one that's happened to.
And I'm glad my writing this post has given you something helpful.

It was a bit disconcerting to find out I was clueless. LOL
Thanks for commenting!!!

Xeranthemum said...

LOL, Stormy!
Yeah, it was a hard job. ;-)

OOh, you are being sooo bad.

Let's explore this:

Well, if there was an octo-orgy and some did the BDSM thing and others didn't, and the ones who didn't used the items as toys for pleasure only. What could that look like?

Um...I guess those vibrating nipple cups. If he/she uses them on a guy or gal to get them all hot and bothered and panting just to rev them up to have wild monkey sex as a result - then it's toys.

If one of the other couples is into dominating - they might use the on/off switch in a controlled manner to get a desired result, manipulating the person to where they want/demand them to be. In that way, the same device becomes a tool - because of the focused, concentrated and deliberate manipulation.

So for a couple from the Octo-orgy, it will be a Fetish, and for others, toys.

And since there are a lot more
M/F/M/M/M/M/M/M/M out there - the possibility you decribed isn't that far fetched.

I need a glass of water.

Toni said...

OH MY!!! I think my head is about to explode!!

To use a dildo or not to use a dildo that is the question?

Oh I can see the problem here. Now the problem also is, where is the line drawn in the review of a book. A book can have BDSM and use their tools, but those same tools will be toys when there is no BDSM is involved.

Do we list both tools and toys?

Then at what point does it become true BDSM? Just because someone gets blindfolded and spanked, it doesn't mean it is BDSM.

What a hot topic you got going!!